Taiwanese authorities said Friday they are investigating whether a self-proclaimed “prophet” is trying to make money with a prediction that the island will be engulfed by a giant tsunami in May.
The man, known to the public only as “Teacher Wang”, has set off a rush to build makeshift shelters from containers, and prosecutors are wondering if he might be colluding with companies in the container industry.
“We are investigating if Wang collaborated with the container business as part of a scam to defraud people,” said a spokesman for the prosecutors’ office in central Taiwan’s Nantou County.
More than 100 shelters converted from cargo containers are being built in Puli, a town in the county, after Wang made public a prophesy that a quake-induced monster wave would hit Taiwan on May 11, claiming millions of lives.
Wang had advised people to stay in cargo containers, which he said would be safer than regular buildings once the alleged imminent catastrophe happened, according to local media reports.
“He could also be violating the Social Order Law by spreading rumors to cause public panic,” the spokesman said.
Fraud convictions carry a maximum five-year jail term while breaking the law on social order is punishable by a fine of up to NT$30,000 (US$1,000), he said.
Taiwan’s weather bureau on Thursday also warned that Wang risked a fine of up to NT$1 million for issuing unauthorized disaster warnings on his blog — remarks he later removed.
自稱的 (zi4 cheng1 de5)
例: The self-proclaimed psychic claims that she can read people’s minds.
2. makeshift adj.
臨時替代的 (lin2 shi2 ti4 dai4 de5)
例: A makeshift shelter was set up after the storm devastated the area.
3. imminent adj.
即將發生的 (ji2 jiang1 fa1 sheng1 de5)
例: War is imminent as tensions escalate between the two nations.